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Groundbreaking Initiative Would Position New York as National Leader in AI Research & Technology Development for Public Good

Empire AI Would Ensure Access to World-Class Computing Power is Available to New York’s Leading Academic Experts

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Albany, NY – Capital Region elected officials and the leaders of several of the founding institution partners — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY, and CUNY — stood together today to endorse Empire AI, a bold and first-in-the-nation initiative that will position New York as the national frontrunner in responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation. Empire AI will allow New York’s research institutions to pioneer safe, equitable, and accessible AI research and development that will benefit every corner of New York’s economy. 

In January, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled her proposal to create a consortium, named Empire AI, that will launch a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center in Buffalo. The center will be used by New York’s leading institutions to promote responsible research and development, create jobs, and unlock AI opportunities focused on public good. The Consortium comprises the State University of New York, the City University of New York, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Flatiron Institute. 

“The race for AI innovation has begun, and thanks in large part to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s vision and dedication, we are ensuring that New York’s colleges and universities are at the forefront,” said SUNY Chancellor John King. “With the establishment of this consortium, New York will become the undisputed leader of AI technology in the United States, with dozens of our campuses contributing meaningfully and the SUNY university centers at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook leading the way. If our students are going to be prepared to join the workforce of the future, we must ensure that they have access to cutting edge technology and Empire AI will do just that. I encourage our state elected leaders to recognize the incredible potential and promise of Empire AI, and approve it in their upcoming state budget.” 

“Our students deserve access to the very best that modern technology has to offer as they develop skills to enter the workforce,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “CUNY is proud to partner with New York’s higher education institutions to make our state a leader in AI research, transforming the technology for the public good. An investment in Empire AI is an investment in the future of our students and faculty that will pay dividends in the years to come.”

“By creating this consortium, Governor Hochul is putting New York State ahead of the curve,” said RPI President Martin A. Schmidt. “I’m excited for the opportunity this consortium will provide for our students who will play a key role in accelerating this technology and its sound use. When we look back at this moment, we will want to say that we worked together to shape the future of AI for the benefit of our communities.”

The Empire AI consortium will be leading the development for responsible AI that is focused on the public good. In the majority of cases, projects like these are funded by private entities and serve private interests. Empire AI will be the first project of its kind geared toward the public and overseen by educational institutions, and it will place New York in the driver’s seat for future AI development. 

Through its partnership with New York’s leading colleges and universities, Empire AI will also help to prepare the workforce of the future by championing skills and talent that will future-proof the jobs New York’s economy will rely on, taking the national lead on building and attracting the next generation of tech talent in New York. 

“The Empire AI initiative is a first-in-the-nation bold program that ensures that New Yorkers and our institutions lead in shaping the path for the future,” said New York State Assemblyman and Chair of the Assembly Oversight, Analysis & Investigation Committee Clyde Vanel. “Governor Hochul understands that we must properly harness the benefits of artificial intelligence while protecting us from its harm. The promise of the program is to not only conduct research and development but also to train, educate and close the digital divide.”

“AI technology is too important to sit on the sidelines. Empire AI will enable NY universities to do necessary AI safety research, AI explainability research, and other necessary fields,” said New York State Assemblyman Alex Bores. By giving our researchers access to cheaper computers, NY universities will have an advantage recruiting the best and brightest professors and students, creating future-proof jobs for years”

“We continue to advocate alongside Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Governor Hochul to ensure President Biden sites the National Semiconductor Center at SUNY Albany,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “As we await that decision, efforts to expand research capacity across New York State through partnerships with the SUNY system and RPI are welcome additions to New York’s and the Capital Region’s industry-leading semiconductor technology network.”

“It’s a foregone conclusion that AI technologies will transform the ways we live and work, and it’s more important than ever that we’re preparing New Yorkers to thrive in a digital-first society,” said Tech:NYC President & CEO Julie Samuels. “New York is lucky to have a first-class network of institutions taking on that mission. I’m confident the progress they’ll be able to achieve through Empire AI will catalyze all kinds of economic benefits across the state.”


About Empire AI

Empire AI is a proposed consortium that would be created to launch a state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence computing center in Buffalo. The consortium is comprised of several higher education institutions including SUNY, CUNY, Columbia University, Cornell University, NYU, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), as well as philanthropic backers such as Tom Secunda and the Simons Foundation. Intended to promote responsible research and development, create jobs, and unlock AI opportunities focused on public good in New York, this initiative will bridge the gap between private funding and public interest through investments in both sectors to accelerate the development of AI centered in public interest for the state. 

Additional information can be found HERE


Published: Feb 16, 2024 | Last Modified: Mar 28, 2024


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